Aldo Leopold

Quotes from Aldo Leopold’s, A Sand County Almanac:

“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on the face of his land.”

“The landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself.”

We argue so much for creation in our Reformed worldview, but do such a terrible job of actually living in it.

We talk of creation as a theological concept without appreciating the actual world within which our theologizing happens. This world is more than just a mine to dig out analogy gems for our spiritual lives. It is an actual place we actually depend upon to actually live, and we are actually called to care for this land.

Take the creation mandate. “Be fruitful and multiply.” Is God referring to pro-creation or caring for creation? Or perhaps each of those concepts are related to one another. The context of this mandate also refers to God’s commands to “cultivate and keep” the land. The business of generating generations is more than just sexual intercourse, it is a topographical  marrying to and cultivating of the place God made for them.

Another error we can sometimes fall into is thinking of creation as this this idyllic, pastoral, Bambi-esque scene of rainbows, sunshine, and butterflies. We do our world no justice in relegating its wonder to ideal landscapes. Aldo Leopold takes the ordinary things of the world surrounding us—identifying a snow goose flying in solitude bereaved of it’s flock, coming back from a long winter, or a crane eating a frog—and blesses them with his patient listening and compelling reflection. Leopold teaches us to wonder at this world. As Christians, his reflections deepen our ability to enter into the worship of the creator of this beautiful, stark, even fearsome world.

Some other quotes to consider…

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”


“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”


“The modern dogma is comfort at any cost.”


“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”


“On motionless wing they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clangorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun on the crane marsh.”

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